|Photo courtesy of the Healthy Blood Diet|
Egg salad. I never figured out how my mom made egg salad. With the help of Tita Maggi – yes, the Tita Maggi (if you’re old enough to remember the show) – I found out that if you mix a little pineapple or cheese – depending upon your taste – into the boiled egg and mayo mix, you end up with something that tasted almost identical to my mom’s egg salad. But I am completely certain that my mother never opened a can of pineapple bits or grated cheese when she made egg salad. I guess I’ll never figure out how she made it. I’m quite sure Egg Salad isn’t among the hand-written/typed recipes on index cards that she keeps in a tin box around the house.
One time, I made a complete soupy blunder attempting to copy it, that the dogs wouldn’t touch it.
I did learn how to make her fruit salad though – and with her recipe have been able to duplicate it when the occasion calls for it. I haven’t encountered anyone who makes fruit salad like my mom does. It’s not simply throwing in fruit bits into boxed cream. No. It’s a complex procedure involving a double boiler. I remember on one occasion forgetting whether or not I was supposed to use egg-whites or egg yolks. I gambled. It was 50/50 anyway and it turned out okay. No one goes through such trouble anymore.
The most common and celebrated desert of course were the brownies that came with practically every celebration. There’s a secret if you want your brownies to not just be sweet, but moist. Not a lot of people know what that is. And I’m not telling here what it is. Trade secret and all.
The hardest dish we made on one occasion in the 90’s was a banana cream pie. That’s really hard because if you want the proper fluff on the cream, you can’t use a machine; you have to hand-beat it – no matter what people say. The difference lies in the effort. You may get the result you need, but not the result you want or the flourish you desire.
You can tell that someone loves you when they keep making the food, not just when you come over, but just so that you would come over. So I know my mother-in-law loves me tooJ During the homily of one of the masses held for my mother, the priest said that the most eloquent speeches, acts, works of art were meaningless without love. (Something I tried to impart on my beloved pen-pal bigot Mike Wong – wherever he may be – whom I intend to continue to piss off by replying to his twisted beliefs.) Love takes many forms, but essentially it’s that extra effort to show you care. Acts or words you reserve only for a select few.
My mom made me egg salad. Among other things which will now forever be lost.
I don’t grieve for her.
To paraphrase Shakespeare and a later conversation between Data and Captain Picard over the death of Tasha Yar: “We don’t grieve for those in heaven, we grieve for ourselves, wondering how we will go on without them.”
Not living in the same house helps. You don’t miss someone whom you can think is just at home. But the holidays, and occasional drive-bys to raid the fridge will never be the same again. The food will never be the same again. Home will never feel like home again.
This weekend we started the long process of de-cluttering and clearing. In a way it’s a celebration of my sister’s impending wedding this year as she readies the place to be hers, yet you can’t help but miss things that made the place Mom’s.
To everyone who was there for me and my family through this trying time, my sincerest thanks for your prayers and support. It was literally overwhelming. Mom was a rock-star in her wake. We had so many flowers we wanted to give some of them to the other chapels which had none.
I only wish you had the chance to taste her cooking.
She passed with no regrets and with little suffering for such a terrible disease. What more could we ask for? It was almost like her body recognized that she her children were fine and she no longer needed to mother anyone so it was time to check out.
My only real regret in her passing is the egg salad.
Sometimes the smallest things have the most meaning.